Preemptive Lieberman Launch?

Israel 'Won't Rule Out' Deploying Foreign Minister

By Tony Andwise

Published March 06, 2012, issue of March 09, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The threat of another Middle East conflagration reached new heights as Israel cranked up its rhetoric, threatening to send Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to destroy Iran’s nuclear program.

“Israel does not seek war, but the security of our people is paramount,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israel’s prime minister. “We will not rule out using Lieberman on Iran’s facilities. All options are on the table.”

Mutual Assured Demagoguery: Avigdor Lieberman will not shake the hand of any Iranian mullahs he passes as they simultaneously retaliate against his attack.
Backward
Mutual Assured Demagoguery: Avigdor Lieberman will not shake the hand of any Iranian mullahs he passes as they simultaneously retaliate against his attack.

Though international observers have long suspected that the Jewish state has stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, Israel had been coy on the subject until 2009, when Lieberman, the firebrand leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, was appointed Israel’s foreign minister.

Analysts say that the threat to deploy Lieberman suggests an escalation of the conflict.

“I think most people assumed that Lieberman was just for show, and that Israel would never seriously consider using him,” said Daniel Shabtai, an analyst at the Institute for Middle East Studies. “Even the threat of deploying such an explosive figure raises the stakes significantly.”

Though Iran does not deny that it has a nuclear program, it has long maintained that the program is for peaceful purposes.

“We just need an extra power source, that’s all,” Iranian spokesman Ahmed al-Birjani said. “Angry Birds has gotten really popular, and people need a lot more electricity for their iPads.” He added that the nuclear facilities had all been buried in reinforced concrete underneath mountains, “in case it rains.”

American officials warn that if Israel does, in fact, launch Lieberman, Iran could retaliate.

“Iran has been stockpiling its own extremists for years,” said Dora Bennet, assistant undersecretary for Mideast Affairs in the U.S. State Department. “If Iran decides to respond by dropping Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a densely populated city like Tel Aviv, the repercussions could be catastrophic.”

Shabtai added that such a violent outbreak might leave Israel at a disadvantage.

“Although Israel has been stockpiling extremists at an increasingly rapid rate, they still can’t hope to compete with Iran’s supply of extremist mullahs,” Shabtai said.

In what some observers saw as a shot across Israel’s bow, Ahmadinejad recently warned in a speech that Iran could loose a rhetorical torrent that would “turn the land of the Jews into a raging holocaust… whatever that is.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.